The filmmakers of Kannada film Mastigudi have been booked on the charges of culpable homicide, following the death of two actors during a stunt shoot in the Thippagondanahalli reservoir on Monday. Section 304 of the IPC (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) has been invoked against the filmmakers in question — film director Nagashekar, producer Sundar Gowda and stunt director Ravi Varma. One of the victims, Anil, was the co-producer of the film.
Section 304 attracts imprisonment up to 10 years if found guilty.
A police official said that the majority of the force has been deployed to assist the search operation at Thippagondanahalli reservoir, located on the outskirts of Bengaluru city. The high priority for the officials is to find the bodies of the victims. Once the bodies are fished out, they will be sent to postmortem procedure and will be handed over to their families.
The police official said that they will start the legal proceedings against the filmmakers based on the complaint filed by the BWSSB soon.
Anil, 33, and Uday Raghav, 32, jumped along with lead actor Duniya Vijay from the chopper into the dam. While Vijay managed to swim to safety, the other two drowned. The lack of safety precautions during the shooting is the main reason behind the tragedy.
Just before they took the fatal leap from the chopper, Anil and Uday expressed their lack of confidence in doing the sequence. However, they still risked their life based on blind faith.
The BWSSB officials have already accused Mastigudi filmmakers of violating the norms while shooting the film at the Thippagondanahalli lake, which eventually resulted in the death of Anil and Uday. The film’s unit has also been booked under Section 188 of IPC for not following the conditions laid down by the BWSSB.
While giving the permission for the shoot, the water supply board had barred the film’s unit from shooting inside the water. The filmmakers only had the permission to shoot on the banks and garden of the reservoir. However, in the absence of the BWSSB officials, the chopper sequence was shot.
The TV visuals showed Anil and Uday struggling to keep themselves afloat and drowning after jumping off the chopper. A motor boat, which was on the spot, failed to start even as the actors drowned.
A massive search operation is underway to fish out the bodies from the backwaters, which have a large amount of silt underneath.
The NDRF from Hyderabad joined the search operation last evening. And 24 scuba divers have been also pressed into the operation to locate the bodies. Rescuers fear that victims may have got caught in the silt, which only makes the search operation more difficult.